We make choices for our entire lives… and many of those choices can be tough.

Preteens are critically watching how their peers, parents, teachers, and pastors make decisions.

They are also learning and growing from their own experiences.

Use this lesson to teach students that making good choices is not always easy, but it’s the best choice they can make.

-Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry 



Written by: Rob Quinn

Bible: Matthew 7:13-14; Philippians 4:8

Bottom Line: Making good choices is not always easy, but it’s the best choice they can make.

OPENING GAME: Go Big or Go Small?


  • 2 Five-gallon buckets
  • 4 Smaller buckets, 1/2 to one-gallon size
  • 4 Very small funnels
  • 4 Very large funnels
  • Roll of tape
  • 4 ping pong balls
  • 4 small plastic cups (12 oz or smaller)
  • 4 large plastic cups (24 oz or bigger)
  • Towels
  • Large bag of candy for winning team (the biggest you can find and afford)


Fill two, five-gallon buckets 3/4 of the way full of water.

Place those buckets on one side of the room.

Set all cups next to the buckets.

Place the four smaller empty buckets across the room.

Tape a line around each of the smaller buckets, 3/4 the way up the side.

Place one ping pong ball in each empty bucket.

Lay the funnels next to the empty buckets.


Divide your students into four equal teams and line them up behind the water-filled buckets.

On GO, each team will send one person to the buckets, fill up a cup, and race to the other side and begin filling their smaller bucket.

Using a funnel, they will pour their water into their buckets.

They will then return to the water-filled buckets and the next player will take their turn.

The next player cannot go until their teammate drops the cup at the buckets and crosses past them.

Here’s the catch, if you choose a LARGE cup, they must use the SMALL funnel to carefully fill the bucket.

If they grabbed a SMALL cup they can use the LARGE funnel.

Leaders will monitor students to ensure they do not go too fast and splash the water all over.

If they do, that player will have to stop filling their bucket, return to their team and let the next player go.

The team that fills their bucket enough for the ping pong ball to go past the line wins the game.


Well, that was certainly fun to watch!

Here’s a GIANT bag of candy for the winning team to share!

This has to be the best day ever here in (name of preteen ministry)… I mean we ran around with water, gave out a giant bag of candy… what more could you want?

Well, for me I guess the real question is what does any of this have to do with Jesus?

Can any of you tell me what you think we are talking about today?

Allow a few responses from students.

Those were great answers!

Today, we are actually talking about making good choices.

Before we get there, can some of you list a few choices you make on a daily basis?

Examples: Who you choose to hang out with, whether or not to read your Bible, brush your teeth, clean your room, or do your homework…

Those are important choices you make each day, and of course, there are the choices you may not like to make.

For example: Standing up for the person getting bullied at school, or not watching a TV show at a friend’s house that your parents told you not to watch, telling the truth when it means you will suffer consequences…

Maybe deciding not to join in when people are making fun of someone – these choices can be pretty tough to make!

Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to choose because you can justify any choice, wrong or right, if you really want to do it.

But, no matter what, the choices we make always have consequences.

Just like in our game, you had to choose either the small cup and big funnel, which allowed you to pour fast and have less chance of spilling over.

Or the large cup and small funnel, while it gave you more water, you had to pour really slowly.

And many of you spilled over, had to stop playing, and return to your team.

Life can be like this on a daily basis… you have to make choices all the time.

And making good choices isn’t easy, but it’s your choice.

So, how do we know what choices to make and when?

Well, let’s take a look and see what the God has to say.

Read Matthew 7:13-14.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

You see, if we are believers in Jesus and we want to follow Him we have to make the types of decisions he would make.

In this Scripture, we are told those types decisions are going to be difficult.

And the reason is because God’s way is counter culture to what we see displayed in our world on a daily basis.

If you choose to stand up for a person being bullied, is that easy?

What might happen to you?

Why not just go about your own business and not worry about people that are going through a difficult time? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Let me ask: How often do we make decisions based on how comfortable we will or will not feel as a result of our choices?

Because making the right choice can be really tough sometimes.

Imagine someone trying to walk through a really small door… they might have to kneel down, squeeze though, and they might even get stuck.

But, they would feel so relieved once they made it through the door and to the other side.

So, how does it feel when you make the wrong choice? What happens to you?

It’s kind of like strolling through a big door, never touching the sides, and having plenty of room.

But the problem is when you get to other side, all the problems and things going on, end up right there with you still.

You see, making good choices is hard, and as a believer and follower of Jesus, your choices don’t just represent who you are, they represent Jesus too.

So, you might be wondering, how do I know how to make the right choice?

Well, the Bible has something to say about this, as well.

Read Philippians 4:8.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

When you set your mind on the things mentioned in the verse we just read, then you will make choices based on the standards that God has set, and not just what you’re feeling at the moment.

You’re actually training your mind to think about the right things so that when you are faced with tough choices, you know what to do, or you know how to turn to God to help you.

The verse goes on to say that we are to think about things that are “excellent and worthy of praise.”

That means we think and do things that will point to others to God and cause them to see how great He is, and not how great we are because we made a good choice.

Just remember, making good choices is not always the easiest option, but it’s always your choice. 

Set your mind on the things of God and you will make godly choices.


  1. What are some things you love to do?
  2. Why do you choose to do these things?
  3. What are some choices that are hard to do? WHY
  4. Tell us about a time you made a bad choice. And what happened?
  5. Tell us about a time you made a good choice. And what happened?
  6. What do you think about when you hear that making good choices is always going to be hard?
  7. As a Christian does it seem fair that our choices should be harder to make? Why?
  8. Which of the traits in Philippians 4:8 do you think is the hardest to think about? Why?
  9. Which trait is the easiest to think about? Why?
  10. What changes do you need to make in your life to begin making good choices?  


Like this lesson? Check out this…

Preteen Ministry Lesson on Acceptance 

Rob has nearly 10 years of experience in preteen ministry. He is married to an amazing woman Jodi, who just so happens to be the Children’s Ministry Director at his church. They have one beautiful daughter Sydni, and an 8-pound attack dog named Lilly.